In March of 2020, COVID-19 hit the world hard. Workplaces, local businesses, even state governments were at a stand-still. But, there was no environment where the pandemic was more impactful than in senior living communities – or so it would seem. With visitation completely shut down and scheduled trips halted, what exactly did residents spend their time doing for the twelve-plus months when the world went quiet?
The answer may surprise you – but it shouldn’t.
Remember, senior living communities employ a coalition of team members who dedicate their professional lives to ensuring days are spent full of engaging activities and delicious food. Yes… these professionals had to get creative, but that resulted in some of the most innovative and inclusive activities that senior living has ever seen!
Take Rittenhouse Village At Lehigh Valley for example. They recognized that six feet of separation didn’t mean they couldn’t choreograph a dance scene, just like that out of the movie Footloose.
When it came time for dinner or breakfast, even “lock-down” and “shelter-in-place” orders didn’t stop the culinary team at Discovery Village At The West End. These ingenious team members made a habit out of stopping by the door of every apartment home each Monday morning so that residents could participate in a “Prepare Your Own Omelet Bar”.
Even monthly events that has previously been conducted in person were managed virtually. Take a multi-year program set forth by Discovery Senior Living at many of their communities for example. Each month, residents and even those who were interested outside of the community were treated to series of “Discovery University”. This long-standing initiative exposed residents and prospects to a range of topics, like American History for example. When the pandemic hit and communities closed their doors to visitors, these monthly lectures were provided virtually so that residents and prospects could still participate.
Similarly, some seriously fun events could be handled outdoors, like this live concert that was put on for the residents of Lakeside At Mallard Landing. Just because the world outside of our communities stopped, did not mean the entertainment inside of our communities had to follow suit.
However, we all know that one of the most emotionally painful parts of the pandemic has been the inability of loved ones or family members to visit the community in person, especially if their loved one resided in an Assisted Living or Memory Care community. But, the team members came up with a solution for that too. Each community is supplied with an iPad, allowing family members to schedule face-to-face video calls with their loved ones inside the community, with the assistance of care providers if necessary.
COVID-19 changed the world and the effect of a year of isolation was felt by all. But, for those who resided in a properly managed senior living community, while they may have been socially distanced, they were never alone.